Saturday, February 17, 2018

She married an artist, and now finds comfort in his work

By Hilarie M. Sheets
Merele Williams-Adkins in her family’s home in Clinton Hill, with work by her husband, Terry Adkins, behind her, and a piece by Glenn Ligon, lower left. Credit Cole Wilson for The New York Times
NEW YORK---Merele Williams, a lawyer by training, was sick of dating doctors and lawyers. She set her sights on meeting an artist, and at a party in 1991, she did. That night he proposed, and nine months later they were married. They lived, with their two children, in a Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, brownstone surrounded by Mr. Adkins’s work and filled with collections of African art, musical instruments and pieces by his peers. Long admired within New York circles of African-American artists and curators like Thelma Golden and Kellie Jones, Mr. Adkins died from cardiomyopathy in 2014 at the age of 60. A survey of his sculpture — often refined hybrids of found objects that were used as props in his musical performances — is on view through Feb. 17 in “Terry Adkins: The Smooth, The Cut, and The Assembled.” [More]

Prints of La Verna explore Franciscan heavenly imagery at the National Gallery of Art

Nicolò Boldrini after Titian, Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata, c. 1530, woodcut, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund
WASHINGTON, DC—One of the most innovative Italian books of the early baroque period, the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia, published in 1612, illustrates the experiences of Saint Francis and the buildings of the Franciscan community at La Verna. Drawing from the Gallery's rich holdings of works with Franciscan imagery, "Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna" contextualizes this publication alongside some 30 traditional representations from the late 15th through the mid-18th century. Heavenly Earth will be on view on the ground floor of the West Building from February 25 through July 8, 2018. On view in the exhibition will be two first-edition copies of the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia, acquired by the Gallery in 2012 and 2013. [More]

Friday, February 16, 2018

Obama portrait artists merged the everyday and the extraordinary

By Robin Pogrebin Feb. 12, 2018
From left, Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery; Kehinde Wiley; President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama; Amy Sherald; David Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian. Mr. Obama said Mr. Wiley tried posing him “with partridges and scepters and thrones,” even “mounting me on horses.” “I had to explain that I’ve got enough political problems without you making me look like Napoleon,” Mr. Obama added. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — For 50 years, the official paintings of the nation’s former leaders at the National Portrait Gallery have been composed of white presidents painted by white artists. But when the curtains fell from two official portraits Monday morning, they revealed the first black president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, painted, for the first time in the gallery’s history, by black artists, Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley. By choosing two black artists, Ms. Sherald said, the Obamas sent a strong message that people of color and paintings by people of color also belong on museum walls. “Something big happened, something that wasn’t supposed to happen happened: we had our first black president and our first black first lady,” Ms. Sherald said. “Their choices of Kehinde and I represent that.” [More]

A groundbreaking show presents a new, inclusive vision of American art

NEW YORK TIMESBy Roberta Smith
William H. Johnson’s “John Brown Legend,” circa 1945, makes the abolitionist its central image and shows him coming down from a cross and being greeted by a mother and her child. This rarely exhibited work is part of “Outliers and American Vanguard Art,” at the National Gallery.CreditSmithsonian American Art Museum, via National Gallery
WASHINGTON — Anyone interested in American modernism should see “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” at the National Gallery of Art. Flaws and all, this groundbreaking adventure highlights outstanding, sometimes rarely-seen artworks; revives neglected histories; and reframes the contributions of self-taught artists to this country’s rich visual culture. Limiting its scope to American art, it tries to map the intersections of taught and untaught over the last century, examining not only the place of self-taught art now but how it got here. It is extensive: about 280 artworks by 84 artists — and Ms. Cooke has organized them chronologically, in three sections. [link]

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Salaam": Expressing Islam through art at Texas A&M University

By Taylor Fennell
The Salaam exhibit is open from Jan. 19 to March 3, 2018
COLLEGE STATION, TX---The MSC Visual Arts Committee (VAC) has teamed up with the Muslim Students Association (MSA) to educate the Bryan-College Station community about Islam through art. The two organizations have assembled an art exhibit, “Salaam,” which opened on Jan. 18 in the MSC Reynolds Gallery and will be on display until March 3. The exhibit features artwork provided by A&M students and the Islamic Arts Society of Houston. According to Sibba Al-Kahtani, vice president of MSA, “Salaam” is a word that means peace. Muslims use the word to greet each other. She said peace is what Islam is really about. Al-Kahtani said she wants people to realize there is a Muslim community at Texas A&M and challenge preconceptions they may have about the religion. [More]